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The NFL continues to be the league of “go along to get along”

The NFL instituted new regulations that will require players to stand for the National Anthem.

On Wednesday, NFL owners unanimously approved new National Anthem guidelines for its teams and players. The policy states that players on the sidelines for the anthem will be required to stand. Those players who wish not to stand will have the option to stay in the locker room for the duration of the anthem.

But wait, there’s more.

Teams will be subject to a fine if any players violate the new guidelines. Even worse, teams will have the option to fine individual players for a violation of the policy.

Congratulations NFL. You have officially become the least progressive sports league/organization in American sports this side of NASCAR.

The NFL has been under fire ever since Colin Kaepernick first made his statement of protest in 2016. When that happened, I wrote an article saying that Kaepernick stood for what athletes should be. Less worried about their brands and more in tune with what is going on in America. Looking to have a voice in social issues and not just staying out of the fray as Michael Jordan and others have done for years in sports.

This rule instituted by the NFL essentially shuts off free speech in the sport. A sport that mind you is 68 percent African-American according to Pro Football Logic. However, that doesn’t that matter when you have a league that is owned, for the most part, by “old money.” The term “old money” meaning older, affluent white owners who skew Republican and believe that “their” players should just shut up and make them money. Remember when Texans owner Bob McNair said that the league “can’t have the inmates running the prison.” That’s an example of some of the owners that are in the NFL currently.

In comparison, you have the NBA with their commissioner Adam Silver encouraging his players to stand up and voice their opinions about what is happening in society. That empowerment produced moving demonstrations such as when Florida youth Trayvon Martin was shot and killed or when a police officer in Minnesota murdered Philando Castile. Instead of stifling his players’ voices, Silver are making them a part of the NBA culture.

Not all NFL teams were on board for this. Jed York of the San Francisco 49ers abstained from the vote due to lack of player involvement in the conversations. York not voting highlights the extreme hypocrisy of the NFL owners and NFL commissioner Roger Goodell. Last fall, Goodell said that the league would not force players to stand during the National Anthem. So you have that 180, and then you have this.

Earlier this week, the NFL’s owners approved an $89 million social justice platform initiative to help players address “some of the underlying issues” that players have been protesting. Similar to the league’s concussion settlement, their reneging of the settlement and their subsequent inaction on head trauma in the NFL, the $89 million for “social justice” is merely lip service to calm the masses.

“The policy adopted today was approved in concert with the NFL’s ongoing commitment to local communities and our country — one that is extraordinary in its scope, resources, and alignment with our players,” Goodell said in a statement. “We are dedicated to continuing our collaboration with players to advance the goals of justice and fairness in all corners of our society.”

According to Mike Freeman of Bleacher Report sources within the league told him that the NFL is “f—king afraid of President Donald Trump.” Not just afraid…f–king afraid. The league, with total franchise worth over $74 billion and some of the highest ratings on television, are afraid of the President of the United States.

“What does the NFL fear? It fears boycotts of games,” writes Freeman. “It fears people not watching its product on television. It fears people not buying its products.

There is, however, no proof that any of this would happen.”

Of course President Trump weighed in on this story. It is like him to focus on the peripheral things in the world and not the major issues affecting many.

“I think that is good,” Trump said of the new rule on Fox and Friends. “I don’t think people should be staying in locker rooms. You have to stand proudly for the national anthem. Or you shouldn’t be playing, you shouldn’t be there, maybe you shouldn’t be in this country. You have to stand proudly for the national anthem and the NFL owners did the right thing if that is what they’ve done.”

The NFL is attempting to not rock any boats and to be liked by everyone. Unfortunately, that is not the world we live in. You have players that are seeing things not seen since the 1960’s. Contrary to FS1’s Jason Whitlock’s comments just because they are rich, these events do affect players. And these players will not just play their particular sport and shut up as Laura Ingraham so eloquently stated.

The NFL Players Association is wowing to fight rule as many players and union leaders have spoken out against it. NFLPA president DeMaurice Smith released a series of tweets deriding the move by the owners.

The NFL is hindering what the Constitution put in place 229 years ago. That document that did not mention African-Americans because they were not part of the conversation. This was due to African-American not being on the same level as the founding fathers. The document did say that every American has the right to express themselves freely without fail. Once again, similar to when the Constitution was framed, African-Americans (and others) were not part of the conversation.

Maybe Michael Wilbon of ESPN was right in 2017, the NFL is turning into a modern day plantation.

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Kahlil Thomas

Kahlil is the College Sports Editor for as well as a columnist, hosting the Bump 'N Run column once per week. He also co-hosts a weekly basketball podcast, The Box Out, every Thursday evening with fellow writer Jason Cordner.


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